- Coca-Cola will auction its first nonfungible token (NFT) collectibles to commemorate International Friendship Day on July 30, per a press release. Proceeds from the auction, which begins on July 30 and closes on Aug. 2 on digital marketplace OpenSea, will go to Special Olympics International.
- The four-piece collection will be auctioned as a single lot and housed inside an NFT "Friendship Box" inspired by video game loot boxes and modeled after the brand's retro vending machines. It also includes a sound visualizer, friendship card and a bubble jacket that can be "worn" in the 3D virtual reality platform Decentraland.
- The auction will coincide with an event in Decentraland. Surging interest in NFTs has recently made them a go-to tactic for marketers, as the larger "metaverse" that they are a part of comes into focus for tech companies.
With its latest effort, Coca-Cola becomes one of the largest companies to adopt NFTs, the technology powering the unique digital assets that have taken the art and advertising worlds by storm. As with other branded NFT auctions, there is a charity component — in this case benefiting longtime partner Special Olympics International — that helps the company meet its purpose-driven, corporate social responsibility (CSR) goals.
However, Coca-Cola's NFTs — created with Tafi, a developer of personalized avatars and branded digital content with which the beverage giant has teamed before — bring the branded experience to the next level by including a bubble jacket that is "wearable" in the VR platform Decentraland. While it resembles virtual worlds like Second Life and Fortnite, Decentraland is overseen by a nonprofit and powered by the Ethereum blockchain, as most everything in the platform — from plots of virtual land to art in virtual galleries — is an NFT.
Bringing branded NFTs to Decentraland could give marketers like Coca-Cola another avenue to engage consumers across the burgeoning "metaverse," a convergence of physical and digital worlds that is surging in interest alongside NFTs. Mark Zuckerberg recently brought more attention to the idea when he said he hoped to turn Facebook from a social media company into a "metaverse company" within the next several years, per an interview with The Verge. Similarly, Coca-Cola sees the metaverse as another frontier for consumer engagement and brand-building.
"Coca-Cola is one of the most collectible brands in the world, and it has shared its rich heritage with consumers through simple moments of joy for decades," Selman Careaga, president of the global Coca-Cola category, said in the press release. "We are excited to share our first NFTs with the metaverse, where new friendships are being forged in new ways in new worlds."
The beverage giant's NFT push comes days after Campbell's soup used the technology to mark the redesign of its iconic soup can labels, and follows previous NFT campaigns by brands including General Mills, Charmin, Domino's and Stella Artois. Like Coke's wearable bubble jacket, activewear company Asics auctioned off NFTs that winners could use as textures on metaversal platforms.